Friday, October 31, 2014

(S, T) Hand Clap & Jump Rope Rhymes

Edited by Azizi Powell

This cocojams2 series showcases examples of English language hand clap & jump rope rhymes, with a special focus on examples from African American culture. The pages present examples whose "titles" begin with the featured two letters, with the exception of post #11 in this series which features examples whose titles begin with the letters "u" - "z".)

Unless otherwise indicated, the examples given below were (or "are") "hand clap rhymes".

This is not meant to be a comprehensive listing of rhymes. For instance, I've chosen not to include a number of versions of rhymes that are generally found on other children's rhyme sites.

A number of these rhymes are featured in posts on my pancocojams blog. Click and either enter that rhyme's name or enter the words "children's rhymes" or "African American rhymes and cheers".

Also, a number of the examples in this collection were featured on my cultural website that was online since December 2001. That website vanished late October 2014 [!?!) and I am partially recreating its playground rhymes pages from back-up files and from recent internet "rhyme harvesting". That's the story behind this blog name cocojams2.


The content of this post is presented for folkloric and recreational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who have contributed to this collection.


Note: These examples are published in alphabetical order based on their titles or the first few words of their first line. Multiple versions of specific rhymes are presented in chronological order based on their publishing date online or their collection date, with the oldest dated examples presented first.

S, T

"SAY SAY MY PLAYMATE" AND "SEE SEE MY PLAYMATE" Examples of this rhyme can be found under the title "Playmate" in the " O,P" post of this cocojams series.


Shimmy, Shimmy China,
I know karate.
Shimmy Shimmy China,
Oops! I’m so sorry.
Shimmy Shimmy China
Sittin on a fence
trying to make a dollar
outa 85 cents
She missed
She missed
She missed like this, like this, like this.

-Shan (12 years & Shala 9 years; Black Females) and their brother Shep (8 years Black male) in the predominately African American section of Garfield in Pittsburgh PA; collected by Azizi Powell, 10/1998

(Continue repeating the entire rhyme until only one player is left. That player is the winner.)
I have also heard “65 cents” for this line instead of “85 cents”.

Play description:
"Shimmy Chimmy China" is performed wth unison chanting and rhythmical clapping in pairs, with 3 people, or in a circle with any number of people; When performed as a partner game, players stand in front of each other and one player turns one palm up towards the ceiling and the other palm down towards the floor. The other partner turns the opposite palms up and down. Each strikes the other’s palms. With three or more players, the players hold on palm up and one palm down and strike the palms of the persons standing next to him or her on both sides. Players also do rhythmical “scissors jumps” on beat to the chanted words (scissors jumps are made by crossing one foot in front of the other foot). On the last word, if a player’s right foot is not in front of the left foot, he or she is “out”. The object of the game is to be the last player still in the game.

This rhyme is a variant of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", "Down Down Baby I Know Karate", and similarly worded rhymes. I believe that the children chanting the word "China" considered it a female name* and not a name of that Asian country or a referent to Chinese people.
There was an African American girl in the elementary school that my daughter taught at (in the early 2000s whose name was "China". That name's "ch" beginning and "ah" ending fits a post 1960s African American aesthetic preference for names (particularly female names. For example, as it just so happens, read the names of the children who contributed this rhyme example.)


Editor: "Slide" is a fairly popular hand clap game among many African American girls. No words are chanted for this hand clap routine except, perhaps for the words "Slide" or "Slide, baby" eat the beginning of the routine, and numbers.
I'm going to break my rule of "no embedded videos for cocojams2" by featuring this video that demonstrates how "Slide" is played.

Slide hand game remix

Unleish Yvonne, Published on Jul 31, 2013 Tired of old hand games ? Try this one. Warning....this video may cause laughing and giggles...viewer discretion is advised. Hehehe :)


I don't think that every child who plays this hand clap games knows that "tic tac toe/ three in a row" refers to the "rock, paper, scissors hand motion game. Click for information about "rock, paper, scissors.


This competitive circle hand game is known by a number of different names. Examples of this rhyme family are posted together regardless of their given name or their first line. Also, read "Quack Dilly Oso" rhymes on the "O, P" post and some versions of "Down By The Banks Of The Hanky Panky" for other for examples of the same type of hand slapping game.


There was also a fun clapping game:
stella ella hola,
clap clap clap
singing es chico chico, chico chico chap
singing es chico chico
velo velo velo,
saying 1 2 3 4 5 [on 5, whoever clapped last would be out]

you would sit in a large circle, and put your hands 1 on top of the person beside you, the other hand below.- when the person beside you clapped their hand onto yours, you would repeat the clap, with each sound. If your hand was hit on 5, you would be out - you could lift your hand really fast and the person would clap themselves out instead)
-Emma; ; November 16, 2004


Slap Billyola
Slap Slap Slap
Sendarico rico rico rico
With ah 1, 2, 3, 4, 5!
-African American girls and boys, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, early 2000s' also my daughter's memories of Pittsburgh in the 1980s.
The play instructions are the same as those given above, only the game was always played standing in circle. I observed this game, and participated in it, as a fun activity done inside school (in the gym area while waiting for the formal start of school, and in my [substitute teacher] classrooms, particularly toward the end of the school day). An adult initiated the activity, but most students loved it - boys as well as girls.


Strolla olla olla
Slap, slap, slap.
With ah "s" cheeka cheeka
cheeka cheeka flap jack.
Fah lay, fah lay,
fah lay, fah lay, fah lay
With ah 1- 2- 3- 4- 5.
-African American girls & boys (ages 6-12 years), Fort Pitt Elementary School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; 10/2000
"Strolla Ola Ola", "Stella Ella Ola" and other rhymes with similar names belong to the same family of handclap games. "Quack Dily Oso" also belongs to this same rhyme family.


Stella ella hola,
Clap clap clap
Say s chico chico, chico chico slap
Ssy s chico chico
Hello, hello
The toilet overflows.
Say 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10!
- stephstories,, "Stella-ella-ola?" ; November 13, 2006 (transcription from the video by Azizi Powell, 1/29/2011)


I'm from manitoba, Canada and we would sing the rythm like this :

Stella stella hola
Clap clap clap
Say es chico chico
Chico chico
Craker jack
Es chico chico
With cheese and macaroni
Say 1,2,3,4,5
-Guest Julia,, "Kids chant Stella Ola Ola / Stella Ella Ola", June 2, 2010


In my school there are a bunch of different ways..
Stella Ella Ella/Ola
Quack Quack Quack
Singing S teega teega,
teega teega shack shack!
follow follow follow follow follow-a/ valo, valo, valo, valo, volora
1 2 3 4 FIVE / 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 TEN /


Crocodilly oh my
Quack Quack Quack!
Say sicko sicko
sicko sicko sock sock!
stick your head in jello,
your face is turning yellow,
1 2 3 4 FIVE! / 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 9 TEN!
Guest guest;, "Kids chant Stella Ola Ola / Stella Ella Ola", January 28, 2011


Strawberry shortcake
cream on top
Tell me the name
of your sweetheart

Two on time
Follow me
To the bottom of the sea

One three five seven
All good children go to heaven
When we get there we'll all shout
(___) (___), you get out!
-Branjor, "Anybody remember jumprope rhymes?", July, 21,2006


Examples of this rhyme family often start with an introductory phrase, but always include the line "take a peach (piece) and a plum/take a piece of bubble gum". These rhymes also often include "ooh ah/ I wanna piece of pie" verses.

The "Oah Aah I Wanna Piece Of Pie" rhymes - without the "take a peach/ take a plum verse- can be considered "kissing cousins" to "Take A Peach Take A Plum" rhymes.

Shake, shake, shake
Eeny meeny
That's a queeny
Ooh ba Thumbalina
Ah cha ca che Liberace
Oh baby I love you
Yes I do.
Take a peach
Take a plum
Take a piece of bubble gum
No peach
No plum
Just a piece of bubble gum
Oooshe ahshe
Oooshe ahshe
I want a piece of pie
The pie too sweet
I want a piece of meat
The meat too tough
I want to ride the bus
The bus too full
I want to ride the bull
The bull too black
I want my money back
The money too green
I want a diamond ring.
-Barbara Michels, Bettye White, Apples On A Stick, The Folklore of Black Children (Houston, Texas; 1983, p. 17)
Some examples of "I Love Coffee I Love Tea" also contain "Take A Peach Take A Plum" verses.


here's one we used to play at school. (some words are not really words but are pronounced that way, this is not really the beginning to the song but the middle because I didn't know how to pronounce those words)

Take a peach take a plumb take a piece of bubble gum
No peach no plumb just a piece of bubble gum

Oche Iche, I want a piece of pie
The Pie to sweet
i want a piece of meat
the meat to rough
i wanna ride the bus
the bus to full
i wanna ride the bull
the bull to black
i want my money back
my money to green
i want a jelly bean
the jelly bean to white
goodnight sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite
if they do get a shoe an beat the black and blue
down by the river with the hangy pangy
where the bulldog jumped from bang to bang
there set a
That's all there set a
Listen to the beat
-R.S.; Octoblog; November 7, 2003 [This blog is no longer assessible.]
Notice the line from "Down By The Hanky Panky" in this example.


Ziz Zag zag
take a piece take a plum
take a piece 0f bubble gum
do you like it?
do you love it?
do the alabama shake it
shake it up
shake it down
shake it all around.
Spying on my boy friend - baby
didn't do the dishes - lazy
jumped out the window - crazy
and thats the facts of boys boys boys
-Miranda R., Cocojams, 12/5/2004


take a piece, take a plum take a piece of bubble gum. no piece, no plum no piece of bubble gum. i like coffee, i like tea, i like the preety boy and he likes me so step back dumb boy, you dont shine, i'll meet you round the corner and beat your behind. last night, the night before, i met my boyfriend at the candy store. he bought me ice cream, he bought me cake, he bought me home with a stomach ache. i said "mama, mama, i feel sick. call the doctor QUICK,QUICK,QUICK! doctor, doctor before i die. i close my eyes and i count to five. 1..2..3,4,5 i'm alive." see that house on top of that hill? that's where me and my boyfriend live. cook that chicken, burn that rice. com on baby, lets shoot some dice!
-lesa; ,"Schoolyard games", {Octoblog], April 10, 2005
This example was written in paragraph form. Can you identify the independent rhymes that are combined to make this playground rhyme?


THE SPADES GO (Example #5 of "Take A Piece, Take A Plum")
the spades go eenie meaning pop zuchinni
oh ah, oobaleenie
atchie katchie liveratchie say the magic words
a peach a plum a half a stick of chewing gum
and if you want the other half
this is what you say
amen amen a men of san diego hocus pocus alerocus
ses ses ses boom bah
rivers rivers rah rah rah
boo boo boo
criss cross apple sauce
do me a favor and get lost
while your at it drop down dead
either that or lose your head
banging on a trash can
banging on a tin can
you can i can nobody else can
sitting around, with nothing to do, along comes grandma
and gootchie gootchie goo!
-lissandsara, August 30, 2008
"The Spades" is the title given to this YouTube video of two White girls reciting this rhyme.

"The spades go" is sometimes given as "the space goes". "Spades" was and sometimes still is a derogatory reference for "Black people". However, I don't think that most children chanting this rhyme know that. Instead, I think that most children probably chant the words "the spades" (or "the space" or "the saints") without attributing any meaning to those words. However, I think originally in the context of these children's rhymes, the words "the spades" meant "the Black people" as a matter of fact statement which was short for "Here's how the Black children say and/or do this rhyme".

"The Down Down Baby" rhyme in the American movie Big is probably the most well known example of a children's rhyme that uses "the space goes" use as an introductory phrase. Read the entry below for an example of "the saints go" and the "Two Lips" entry below for other examples of "the spades go" in playground rhymes.


The saints* go:
eenie meenie popsakini
ooh aah oobelini
otchie kothchie liberace
say the magic words:
a peach, a plum, a half a stick of chewing gum
and if you want the other half, this is what you say
amen, amen, amendiego sandiego
hocus pocus dominocus
sis sis, sis boom bah
rivers, rivers, rah rah rah
boo boo boo
criss cross, applesauce
do me a favor and get lost
while you’re at it drop dead
either that or lose your head.
sitting on a trash can
I can, you can, nobody else can
sitting around, nothing to do
along comes grandma**, cootchie coochie coo!***

*or “spades”… mmm racist overtones.
** or “fat lady.” right.
***accompanied by tickling, of course.
-l'zhiu, "Shapely Prose", October 2, 2009
The asterisks and comments were written by the contributor.


) When I was growing up the jump rope song to Teddy bear lullabye went like this:
Teddy bear, teddy bear turn around,
teddy bear, teddy bear touch the ground,
teddy bear , teddy bear go upstairs ,
teddy bear , teddy bear say your prayers,
teddy bear teddy bear turn out the light,
teddy bear , say good night.

We also did actions while jumping, ie: turned around in a circle, touched the ground, picked up high knees to go up stairs, folded hands to say prayers, flicked a finger to turn out the light,then jumped out of the rope to the side to say goodnight, this ended your turn. That sure was alot of fun! I came to this site to learn others to teach my daughter.Thanks alot everyone!
-Guest, ginger, "Children's Street Songs", 3/16/2004
I remember saying this same rhyme as a child while jumping rope the same way that was described by this contributor. (in Atlantic City, New Jersey in the 1950s).


Ten little angels
dressed in white
tryin to get to heaven
on the tail of a kite.
But the kite string broke
and down the fell.
Instead of goin to heaven
they went to
Nine little angels {repeat the rest of the words}.
Eight little angels...
Seven little angels...
Six little angels...
Five little angels...
Four little angels....
Three little angels...
Two little angels...
One little angel
dressed in white
tryin to get to heaven
on the tail of a kite.
But the kite string broke
and down she fell
instead of going to heaven
she went to
-Azizi Powell (childhood memories, Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1950s)
-snip-br> The first verse of an early 20th century or earlier African American secular (non-religious) dance song called "Raise A Rucus Tonight" is an early source for the "Ten Little Angels" rhyme and its variant rhyme "Ten Little Devils". "Raise A Rucus Tonight" is included in Thomas W. Talley's now classic 1922 book Negro Folk Rhymes, Wise and Otherwise.


TEXICO (Version #1) Jump Rope rhyme
I am watching a friend's three kids today, and I heard them in the basement (playroom) skipping rope...Here is one that is new on me:

Texico, Texico, all the way to Mexico
Do the splits, splits
Chinese Kicks, kicks
Turn around, round
Touch the Ground, ground!
-Neighmond, "Folklore: Skipping Rhymes & Playground Games", February 3, 2003


TEXACO (Version #2) Jump Rope rhyme
(This one started with "cradles")

Texaco Texaco
OVER (start twirling the rope overhead) the hills to Mexico
Spanish dancers do the splits
Spanish dancers wiggle their hips
Spanish dancers turn around
Spanish dancers touch the ground
Spanish dancers get out of town (the jumper would jump out)

Standing outside the rope as it was twirling and jumping into it was called a run-in. Twirling the rope toward the jumper was "front doors," and twirling it away from the jumper was "back doors." It was harder to do a run-in back doors than front doors.

"Cradles" was swinging the rope back and forth just above the ground. Swinging it so that it almost went overhead but not quite was called "high waters." The most complex single rope twirl was called "TVs." It went two cradles-front doors-two cradles-back doors-cradles-front doors, etc.

Jumping with two ropes twirling inward was called "double Dutch." Twirling them outward was called "double Irish." The ropes were twirled left-right-left-right in a steady rhythm. If you twirled them both at the same time, you ended up with "eggbeaters," and that was the sign of an inept twirler.

By the way, when I was a little girl jumping rope in Wisconsin, I never would have imagined that inner city girls on the East Coast would make double Dutch into a competitive sport, complete with acrobatic and dance moves, such as vaulting over the twirlers to start jumping.

When I went to China in 1990, I learned that Chinese children DO play Chinese jumprope. It became popular when I was in fifth and sixth grade. It was sort of like cat's cradle for your feet. The girls at either end anchored the giant rubber band, and to be successful, you had to go through a series of maneuvers, jumping around among the bands.
-Lydia Leftcoast, "Anybody remember jumprope rhymes?", Apr-30-2005


TEXICO (Version #3) Jump Rope rhyme
Texico, Mexico all the way to Texico (swinging rope on ground)
where they do the splits, splits, splits (spread legs as if to do splits)
and high heel kicks, kicks, kicks (bend knees)
and turn around, round, round, (spin)
and touch the ground, ground, ground (bend down and touch ground W/fingers)
and they eat red hot chili peppers (spin rope quickly)
-no name given,, retrieved August 22, 2010


Examples from this rhyme family are presented together regardless of their title.

Coca Cola .. Came to town
Diet Pepsi ... Come on down

Theres a place on mars where the women smoke cigars
Every puff they take is enough to kill a snake
When the snake is dead they put roses on its head
When the roses die . they put diamonds in its eyes
When the diamond break .. they begin to make a cake
When the cake is done ... it'll be 1991
-heather, ; 3/18/2006


In the land of mars
where the ladies smoke cigars
and the smoke they make
is enough to kill a snake
when the snake is dead
they put roses in its head
when the rose has dies
they put diamonds in his eyes
when the diamonds fade
in the year of seventeen seventeen seventeen EIGHT
-steve, ; 12/3/2006


IN THE LAND OF MARS (Version #3)
In the land of mars
where the babys smoke cigars
and the men wear bikinis
and the women drink martinis
and the stuff they drink
is enough to kill a mink
when the mink is dead
they put flowers in its head
when the flowers die
they put diamonds in its eyes
when the diamonds break
its enough to bake a cake
when the cake is baked its 1991
92,93,94,95,96,97,98,99, 2000!
We sang that in elementary school in Pennsylvania.
-Aubri; Cocojams, 4/15/2007


with the same game as down by the banks: [of the Hanky Panky]

On the planet Mars where the ladies smoke cigars
every puff they make is enough to kill a snake
when the snakes are dead they put roses in their heads
when the roses die they put diamonds in their eyes
when the diamonds break they say: “5, 6, 7, 8, let me see your booty shake!” (you’re out if hit on shake)
-bippity, "Shapely Prose", November 4, 2009


THE SIMPSONS (Version #1)
Bart Simpson
Lisa Simpson
Homer and Marge
That’s not all-
Bart’s in double trouble

Bart Simpson
Lisa Simpson
Homer and Marge
That’s not all-
Bart’s in double trouble

Criss Cross
Apple sauce
Pump up the volume
Pump up the volume
Pump up the volume
Pump up the volume
Pump up the volume
Pump up the volume
Pump up the volume
Pump up the volume
Pump up the volume
For the last time
-Tamia, (12 year old African American girl, Maryland) Oct 29, 2005; collected by Marimba for Azizi Powell

"The Simpsons" is an American animated television series.
"Double trouble" means "a lot of trouble".
"Pump of the volume" technically means "to increase the sound". But, in the context of playground rhymes, it means "raise the energy level", "be more enthusiastic". "Pump up the volume" is often found in children's cheerleader cheers.


THE SIMPSONS (Version #2) lisa simpson, bart simpson, homer simpson, bart
i said a deep da deep da deep trouble
i said a deep da deep da deep trouble
-Anietie,, October 7, 2006


THE SIMPSONS (Version #3)
Sin Sin Sin
We do twist (tricks?)
And I do twist (tricks?)
And Maggie Maggie Maggie twist (tricks)
And Mart is double trouble
Mart is double trouble
Criss cross
The apple sauce
Pump up the volume
Pump up the volume
Pump up the volume
Now freeze 1 time
Pump up the volume
Pump up the volume
Pump up the volume
Now freeze
- Alecia and Arianna, , April 25, 2009; transcribed by Azizi Powell on September 5, 2010


TIC TAC TOE (Version #1>
One version of the rhyme (played at School 17) is as follows: Tic-tac-toe gimme a high gimme a low, Gimme a three-in-a-row. Bunny got hit by a UFO (while playing paper, scissors, rock) Bunny got hit by a UFO (while playing paper, scissors, rock) Bunny got hit by a UFO (while playing paper, scissors, rock) The person who loses paper, scissors, rock turns around while the winner pokes out one finger, running it along the other players back and says:

Snake (or snakey) going down your back, which finger is that?

The player tries to guess which finger had been used on her back and has two guesses to get it right. If they don't get it right, the 'winner' grabs the other players arm and punches it up and down while chanting:

I win; you lose; now you get a big bruise.
- "Childhood, Tradition & Change" [Australian children's playground activities in the early 21st century]
That page has other variant forms of how this rhyme is chanted and played.

Examples of "Mama Mama Can't You See" include the lines "tic tac toe/three in a row/Barney's got killed by G.I. Joe" (Read examples of "Mama Mama Can't You See" on the "M, N" post of this cocojams2 series.) Notice how the name "Barney" has been changed to the word "Bunny". This may be a result of "folk etymology", when people misremember a word or phrase, or changes an unfamiliar word or phrase or one that makes no sense to them to a familiar word or phrase or a word or phrase that makes more sense to them.

Click for information about that game.


TWO LIPS (Version #1)
The spades go two lips together
Tie them forever
Bring back my love to me.
What is the meaning of this?
For all the fellows I've kissed
They tell the story
the story of l-o-v-e.
-Debbie O, "I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes", December 29, 2006
"Two lips" is a folk etymology form of the word "tulips". The line about tulips tied together probably refers to a love charm that was believed to bring one's love back.

"The spade go" in this rhyme is an introductory phrase. The actual rhyme begins with the words "two lips". Introductory phrases usually have different hand actions than the actual rhyme. The usual motions I've seen for the introductions are the partners swinging their clapsed hands back and forth (with their arms stretched out in front of them) or clapsing their pinkies and swinging them back & forth.


ACE OF SPADES ((Version #1 of Two Lips)
Does anyone know a hand clapping song called (I think?) "Ace of Spades"? It goes like this:

Ace of spades goes two lips together,
down and forever
bring back my love to me
what is the meaning meaning meaning
of all the flow-ow-ow-ow-flowers
they tell the sto-o-o-o-story
the story of love from me to you

Then I think it goes back to Ace of Spades, but I don't remember if there are any more verses, and I don't remember the specifics of the hand clapping.

Anyone out there know anything more?

-ratgirl,, May 10, 2010
This is a folk processed form of the rhyme "Two Lips". Read my comments above about the "Two Lips" rhyme. The "ace of spades" is a particular card in a deck of playing cards. The use of that phrase might confirm that children reciting this rhyme didn't/don't know that the word "spades" was/is used as a (usually derogatory) referent for "Black people".

Click for the pancocojams post "The REAL Meaning Of "The Spades Go" & "The Space Go" In Playground Rhymes". That post includes a video of actor Tom Hanks (who starred in the movie Big reciting "Down Down Baby". That post also includes a transcription of that version of that rhyme, and other versions of rhymes that include the phrase "the spades go" or "the space goes".


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